By YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos
Nigeria has imported palm oil worth over $3.2billion in the last ten years, LEADERSHIP can authoritatively report.
Findings by LEADERSHIP revealed that the nation imported a cumulative 4,760,000 tonnes of palm oil from 2007 to November, 2017.
Palm oil, hitherto one of the nation’s major foreign exchange earners in the early 1960s is massively imported into the country from Malaysia and Indonesia.
Recall that Nigeria was the largest producer of palm oil in the world with a market share of 43 per cent in the 1960s. But currently, it has a world share of 2.9 per cent, with Indonesia leading by 33 million metric tonnes, Malaysia, 19.8 million metric tonnes; Thailand, two million; Colombia, 1.108 million metric tons and Nigeria, 970,000 metric tonnes.
Palm oil that used to be Nigeria’s biggest export produce before the discovery of crude oil has now been adopted by Asian countries earning over $25.2 billion in exports.
With domestic production currently standing at 970,000 metric tonnes in Nigeria, the country needs an annual 2.7 million tonnes leaving a deficit of 1.73 million tonnes. It was further gathered that despite the high exchange rate and price, the shipment was increased by 12 per cent as global price hit $718 per metric ton.
The price of the commodity, which was $663 per metric ton in July, rose to $718 per ton this November based on high demand by indigenous manufacturers.
According to statistics exclusively obtained by LEADERSHIP, Nigeria now import between 400,000 to 500,000 Metric Tonnes of palm oil from Asia to bridge domestic production. With the country importing 4.7milllion MT at $663 per MT between 2007 to 2017, the country had spent a whopping $3.2 billion importing what can be locally produced.
The breakdown shows that in 2007, Nigeria imported 451,000MT of palm oil while 410,000MT was imported in 2008; 425,000MT in 2009; 435,000MT in 2010; 440,000MT in 2011.
Also, in 2012, Nigeria imported a whopping 470,000MT of palm oil while 518,000MT was imported in 2013; 506,000MT in 2014; 263,000MT in 2015; 400,000MT in 2016 and as at November 2017, 450,000MT of palm oil imported into the country.
Records from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) also revealed that MASCOT Munchen, is expected to deliver 8112.17 MT of Crude palm oil at Josepdam Terminal on Tuesday. Also, Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL) at Lagos Port Complex took delivery of 4,000 tonnes from MV Lady Dahlia, bulk carrier, in the first week of this month, while MV Hamour Endurance is awaiting to discharge about 5,000 tonnes at JosepDam terminal, Tin Can Island Port.
In August this year, three vessels berthed at the Lagos Port Complex and Tin Can with 32,483 tonnes of the commodity. At ABTL were MV GSW Forward and MV Marios G ships, laden with 16,300 tonnes and 11,483 tonnes respectively. Another ship, MV Theresa Success, investigation showed, has also offloaded 5, 000 tonnes of the product at JosepDam terminal.
Findings also revealed that between January and April this year, 50,010 tonnes of the commodity was shipped to the country. According to investigation at the Lagos Port, MV SeaPrice discharged 15,000 tonnes in January; MV Chemtrans Havel, 10,700 tonnes in February; MV Star Ploeg, 16,400 tonnes in March and MV Mid Nature, 8,000 tonnes in April this year.
Following the high demand for palm oil by Nigeria and Ghana this year, a shipping line, CMA CGM in August, imposed a new cargo protection service for shipments of the commodity into the country.